What We Do
The Freedom Forum’s mission is to foster First Amendment freedoms for all. We work to raise awareness of First Amendment freedoms by educating, engaging and inspiring people, sharing the stories of Americans who have exercised their rights to ignite change.
Established July 4, 1991, by our founder Al Neuharth, the Freedom Forum is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) foundation. We advance First Amendment freedoms through initiatives that include:
- The annual “Where America Stands” survey of Americans’ attitudes and ideas about the First Amendment;
- 1A Fest, a celebration of our essential freedoms through music, comedy, conversation, immersive experiences and exhibits;
- Free Expression Awards, spotlighting champions of free expression in activism, the arts, technology, leadership, religion, entertainment and journalism;
- Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media, honoring barrier-breakers, visionaries, innovators and people who work to ensure the media reflects the diversity of the communities they serve;
- First Amendment reporters, a partnership with Journalism Funding Partners that supports reporters in Florida and Tennessee who cover the First Amendment beat;
- Power Shift Project, promoting newsroom and journalism classroom culture that is free of incivility and harassment and full of opportunity for all;
- Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, a scholarship program that each year brings high school juniors from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to the nation’s capital to educate and inspire them to consider a career in journalism.
- Chips Quinn Scholars, mentors and supports early-career journalists with a goal to retain diverse talent in newsrooms.
- Today’s Front Pages, a daily online exhibit and app displaying 500-plus front pages from around the world highlighting the essential role the free press plays.
Headquartered at The Wharf in Washington, D.C., the Freedom Forum’s affiliate organizations include:
- The Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota, our founder’s alma mater, which houses the Department of Media and Journalism; student media opportunities such as KYOT-TV, Coyote Radio, The Volante newspaper and Coyote Creative in-house advertising agency; and South Dakota Public Broadcasting;
- The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi, featuring programs, multimedia displays, and writings that examine the complex relationships between the media and politicians—past, present, and future; and
- The John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University, home of the Dialogue Vanderbilt initiative—including The Vanderbilt Project on Unity & American Democracy; the Future of Free Speech Project, a collaboration between the global judicial think tank Justitia and Vanderbilt; and the Open Dialogue Visiting Fellows Program.